Thursday, March 04, 2010

Indy (Red) Star: Free Market Bad

Carrie Nation with a keyboard, the local catbox liner's recidivist editorialist Andrea Neal is worried not only about the scourge of rum[1] but another True Horror:
By law alcohol is a regulated product ... but the way we treat it in Indiana is coming close to laissez faire.
[Emphasis mine] Yes, the paper once again demonstrates the Authoritarian Control Bias of modern American mass media ("Government control is goooood") at the very least, with more than a pale-pink tinge of disapproval of free markets.

Boiled down, her notion is that it's just terrible that you can buy beer, wine and hard liquor at a wide variety of locations, not just "package stores," most of which still have that delightfully Soviet screw-you monopolist ambiance and convenience from the days when they were almost the only game in town[2]. She thinks it's a horrible, awful shame you can buy the Distilled Demon (or even beer and wine) at a nice, well-lit grocer's or drugstore and even trots out an old canard in support; the free market comes at a diresome price, she huffs:
Studies show an increase in violent crime -- assault, domestic battery and armed robbery -- in ZIP codes with high density of alcohol licenses. Property crimes are higher too.
A) Which studies would that be? Cite or shaddup. B) Correlation is not causation; it's a sad fact you find more stress, more crime and more liquor stores in poorer neighborhoods. But fear not, Poor Guy; a six-pack of Bud may be your only escape but Ms. Neal's here to make it even harder to get! --She also wants to know if you've stopped beating your wife. C) Freedom includes the freedom to be a screw-up, drunks will get their booze and I'd as soon it wasn't wood alcohol from Sterno fuel; on the other side of the counter, freedom darned well also should include the freedom to sell a legal product to legal buyers, legally, without having to go hat-in-hand to beg an artificially-scarce permission slip from a board of bureaucrats who've never bought and sold for a living, ever. D) I'm not even gonna touch on the covert racism in "Studies show...."

Then there's this nice bit of "don't know much about history...:
The words [the rationale for Indiana's alcohol laws] sound old-fashioned, but there's more than Prohibition-era thinking behind them. We limit access to alcohol to protect children and to reduce side effects such as drunken driving, alcoholism and domestic violence.
Um, no, dear; that was the Prohibition-era thinking. And, just so's y'know? It didn't work out that way. But hey, thanks for playing.

History: lather, rinse, repeat. And this one's a twofer!
1. No word yet on her opinion of buggery or the lash.
2. If I recall, Indiana pharmacies have long been able get permits to sell alcohol; until the last decade or so, most only stocked a very limited selection behind the counter. Correct me if I am off-base.


Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

Gee, and to think I used to think well of Andrea Neal.

Not anymore.

Drang said...

Here in WA we still have to get our hard liquor from a state store. Reason is finally catching up and
it looks like, in a year or two, this state monopoly will probably go away. Running the stores does, in fact, deprive the state of income; if they were a private enterprise, the state would collect the revenue from the taxes, and have no concomitant outlays.

The Rich Wasp said...

I remember back in the day when the easy way to compare two properties in Marion County was to figure out which one was closer to a 500 Liquors store.

Although correlation does not imply causation. Even if it does, which one causes the other? Did 500 Liquors open stores in bad areas, or did areas go bad after 500 Liquors opened its stores.

Also, there is an obvious social benefit to having liquor stores within walking distance of people who would otherwise drink and drive.

I'm thinking of a poor white trash guy I know who realized drinking and driving don't mix. Upon making this realization, he stopped driving. I personally wouldn't make the same decision, but applaud him for actually making the decision and sticking to it.

Underground Carpenter said...

Hi Roberta X,
Isn't it nice that we have Mom and Dad in the legislature to save us from ourselves?


Timmeehh said...

"No word yet on her opinion of buggery or the lash."

Well if that's the only choice we get, I'll take the lash.

Roberta X said...

UC: isn't it, just?

Timmeehh: follow the link, they're all of a piece, Royal Navy traditions. Can a Sea Lord be wrong?

John B said...

Drang ol' Buddy, They've been liver- teasing us on that liquor store monopoly for thirty years now.

The state would rather lose money than lose control.

I mean if they cut taxes by 2/3rds, the increased revenue would more than make it up....

But Nooooo!